Sony Vaio VGC-LT2S
The all-in-one desktop computer market is largely dominated by the iMac for both its form and function, however there are a few rivals on the horizon that could give the iMac a run for its money.
I’m talking about the Sony VGC-LT2S. An all-in-one desktop computer as part of the Sony Vaio range that has a few tricks up its sleeve.
The full specification of the machine I tested is listed below:
Intel Core 2 Duo T8100 2.1GHz 800MHz FSB
2GB DDR2-667 SDRAM – 4GB maximum
22-inch 1680 x 1050 X-black widescreen LCD
NVIDIA GeForce 8400M GT graphics with 256MB dedicated RAM expandable up to 1024 using shared graphics option
Blu-ray disc drive
Twin TV tuner supports digital and analog
Built-in digital camera – 30fps 1.3 Mega Pixel resolution
5 x USB 2.0 ports
Wireless keyboard, mouse and media centre remote
The LT2S reminds me of the designs you can see in the Bravia TV range with its transparent edge and speaker grille bezel. With a simplistic and minimalist look, the LT2S will sit comfortably with the rest of your living room decor or kitchen appliances.
As with the iMac, all of the components are built into the rear of the screen, so it’s a completely self-contained system with only the peripherals being separate. This creates a smart looking and tidy desktop system that appears to ‘float’ in mid-air with its transparent border stand.
Sony have utilised the transparent border with some cool lighting effects for the power LED, Sony badge and the HDD activity LED. These appear to light up without any physical wiring attached to the lights which is a clever design trick that works well.
The X-Black display is truly stunning at showcasing your media content. With a 1680 x 1050 resolution on the 22-inch display, you can expect crystal sharp images as was shown in my tests with Blu-Ray and DVD content.
Built-in to the LT2S is a twin tuner digital/analog tuner, which can feed a live TV signal straight to Windows Media Centre and give you complete control using the wireless Sony TV-styled remote. Although my experience in setting this up took up to an hour to configure, tune and download the electronic programming guide, the end result was a sophisticated solution that makes Media Centre relevant again.
With graphics supplied by NVIDIA in the form of the 8400M GT, you can’t expect to play the latest 3D games, so make sure your expectations are realistic if you are considering buying the LT2S for the occasional game. However for multimedia such as High Definition Blu-Ray movie playback, the LT2S will keep you satisfied.
Towards the top of the front exterior chassis, built straight in to the speaker grille bezel you will find the ‘Motion Eye’ digital camera that can be tilted using the switch at the back.
Look towards the side and you will find an SD card reader, which for Sony is rare to say the least. You will of course find the obligatory Sony Memory Stick slot as well as a PC and ExpressCard/35 expansion slot.
Connectivity comes in the form of five USB ports with three at the back and two on the side. FireWire 400 and optical audio are also available to complement the full media centre promise.
The keyboard and mouse give you wireless freedom, ideal for the coffee table or on the lap. I found the keyboard to be easy and comfortable to type on despite it being based on laptop style keys. A timer is built in to the keyboard to switch off automatically after a period of inactivity to save power, however there is a power switch for manual override. The keyboard has an attached wrist-wrest that folds up to become a keyboard cover.
I wasn’t as pleased with the mouse. The odd shape didn’t sit very comfortably in my hand. I also found that it had tracking issues, which prompted me to replace it with my wired USB mouse within seconds of using it.
Sony has priced the LT2S at £1299, which is a competitive price considering it includes a Blu-Ray drive, now the standard for high definition optical media. There’s no skimping on ports and connectivity with support for draft N included in the wireless option and an array of wired connections and expansion slots.
The LT2S does have a unique contemporary design, however it fails to rival the iMac simplicity and uber-coolness. But what it lacks in simplicity it gains in added functionality and features. This is demonstrated by the digital TV tuners, extra connectivity and expansion slots. Compromises made by Sony means that you still get everything you need in a package that is just as cool as the equivalent in the Apple camp.